Product Design faculty inducted into Industrial Design Academy of Fellows
Each year, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) inducts select members into the Academy of Fellows, one the highest honors that can be bestowed on an industrial designer. John Caruso, professor of product design at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), was honored earlier this year for his achievements in industrial design and was inducted into the Academy of Fellows.
According to one of his nominators, Caruso’s “mindset of curiosity, joy, problem solving and rigor is evident in his impressive portfolio which showcases a volume of works ranging from electronics, home goods, appliances and display design to children’s toys and robotics.”
A passionate educator and innovative designer, Caruso credits his grandfather with igniting his interest in both fields. “Teaching lasts through eternity … It’s gratifying to see your students become so successful, I’m so moved by that,” he said in his acceptance speech at the awards ceremony in New York, which took place during the IDSA National Conference. “I don’t think there’s ever been a time that it’s been more important to give students that kind of interaction and validation,” Caruso continues. “It’s so vital to their well rounded education.”
“This is a very humbling award,” Caruso says. “Some of my mentors and heroes are on the stage. This is an incredible achievement and I’m overwhelmed.” With designs ranging from home appliances to children’s toys to delivery vehicles emphasizing sustainability and usability, Caruso’s clients have included Crate & Barrel, Target, Coleman, Design Ideas and many others.
No stranger to recognition, Caruso’s list of other notable achievements includes an IDSA Midwest Outstanding Design Educator of the Year award, several Good Design Awards and Best Educator Paper at the IDSA National Conference. Caruso also received a design arts grant from the National Endowment of the Arts Design to research and develop consumer products made from post-consumer recycled materials. He founded Blu Planet, a design studio that designed, developed and oversaw manufacture of products for The Container Store, Crate & Barrel and Target. Under his direction, Caruso’s students have also won numerous design awards, including Industrial Design Excellence Awards and National Housewares Manufacturers Awards.
Current and former First-Year Experience (FYE) students celebrated their video, animation and sound design works at the FYE Media Arts Festival 23 – an in-house film and media screening in MIAD’s Community Hub on November 16.
MIAD alum Brandon Minga ‘04 (llustration), principal artist and founder of the House of Rad (hrad), was excited to host the 20th anniversary of the Feed Your Soul benefit for Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin on November 3, 2023. This was the second consecutive time hrad has hosted the event.
Three MIAD Communication Design students received 60th anniversary American Graphic Design Awards from Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) magazine. The students were selected from over 8,000 entries, and judged alongside professional design work. Fewer than 10% of entrants received an award.
Interior Architecture and Design (IAD) seniors from MIAD were taken to new heights on November 13 when they toured the construction site of The Couture, a 44-story skyscraper under construction that will be Milwaukee’s tallest residential and mixed-use building. The tour was part of a series of tours their senior thesis “Building Systems” class is taking with instructor Dan Kalkman, AIA.
The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) selected the design of MIAD alum Debbie Sajnani ’16 (Communication Design) for its 2023 annual ornament. The ornaments are recreated each year by artisans using a reserve painting technique, according to MAM.